After yet another cancellation due to the very high winds, SAMM’s second race day on April 8th dawned bright and warm with gentle 7 to 10 knot WNW winds. At Los Alcazares this means they blow off the land so the Mar Menor has little in the way of waves, excellent racing conditions.

John, Julian, Bob, Martin
John, Julian, Bob, Martin

Eight boats came to the start line at 12 noon and six got a good start, including the recently launched Sailfish 18 “Ginetta” of the Balaton group. Their other two Sailfish languished at the rear.

John and Julian in the Laser 2000 “Shoestring Dos” quickly pulled away from the fleet and were to lead to the finish with four other boats all finishing within the next 10 minutes.

However, once the handicaps were applied, Ginetta was declared the race winner, just 17 seconds ahead of “Dos” on corrected time.

Only six boats came out for the second race and, at 10 minutes to the start, found themselves becalmed. At 2 minutes to the start this all changed when the wind came in with a vengeance, blowing at 12 to 16 knots from the WSW.

Again “Dos” slowly pulled away from the fleet as the sea started to build and the wind gust at over 18 knots, and this is when the problems started. First “Ginetta” retired because of a tiller problem, and then Bob Lagden capsized at mark 3, swiftly followed by Brian Murray capsizing at the other side of the course.

Its Neck and Neck

The support boat quickly went to Bob’s aid, took him on board, then helped Brian right his boat and start sailing again, but the assistance meant he had to retire. Returning to Bob’s boat they could not right it so were forced to tow it back to the shore.

The remaining three boats managed to complete the race with “Dos” finishing first and this position was confirmed after applying the handicaps.

Mick Burgess, in the diminutive “Rosita”, is to be congratulated for completing the race in the conditions. His reward was to find that he was placed second in the race. With the support boat occupied with towing, thanks also must go to Don Clarke for sailing along with Mick on his last lap as a safety precaution.

The third race day on April 15th also started in perfect weather, sunny, warm and WNW winds of 6 to 10 knots. A close start saw the 8 boats battling hard around the first lap with “Dos” just ahead and “Rosita” at the rear. On lap 2 “Ginetta” missed a mark and retired whilst the other boats continued to fight hard with the tactics on the up-wind leg being the key to success. After 5 laps only 10 minutes separated all the finishers except “Rosita” who retired after lap 4.

All boats, except “Ginetta” started the second race, in near calm conditions but, the wind backed as forecast to WSW and increased to 12 to 14 knots. In challenging conditions a very tight race ensued, with the leading four boats Shoestrings “Uno”, “Dos”, “Tres” and the Hartley 12.2 completing laps within seconds of each other.

The Balaton boats “Mistral” and “Sirocco” had had their bottoms cleaned and their rigging tweaked since the last race day which made a vast difference in the performance so were not far off the pace. They finished the morning race first and second and the afternoon race first and third with “Dos” in second.